Turn around your retirement
Strategies for problems ‘retirees won’t tell you about’
We read a piece in Market Watch recently about the state of retirees today and the problems they won’t tell us about. If Market Watch is correct, and we have no reason to doubt it, then we would like to share some of our solutions to these listed difficulties. (Read the Market Watch article at http://www.marketwatch.com/story/10-things-retirees-wont-tell-you-2014-09-19)
‘Retirees are broke.’ According to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, the article notes, roughly 15 percent of people over age 65 live in poverty. Also, nearly half are considered “near poor,” meaning that they live with incomes that are less than twice the poverty threshold ($31,460).
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says $15,730 is income for a couple to be considered poverty level. ( http://aspe.hhs.gov/POVERTY/14poverty.cfm )
While there are some locations in the U.S. where cost of living is less than the average, we understand that living in the States at the poverty level is difficult. However, in locations such as Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Thailand and Vietnam, we know singles who are living on their Social Security and even less per month. Couples can easily live on less than $24,000 annually and have a comfortable life.
Our average yearly spending for over two decades is well under the $30,000, so it can be done.
We suggest if your retirement is underfunded that you begin to look at moving overseas for an alternative place to enjoy your retirement years. Often there is better weather and lifestyle than in many places in the U.S. and a lower cost of living as well.
‘Retirement is more stressful than it looks.’ Apparently, retirement is stressful, and is rated as the 10th most stressful of major life events. This is higher than a significant change in the health or behavior of a family member, which comes in at number 11. Studies show that it is fear of “running out of money to live comfortably” that is the biggest concern of retirees, while other retirees get stressed out by the lack of structure to their days.
If money is the number one stressor then this is the perfect reason to track your expenses and manage your Cost per Day. If you track where your money is going, then there are no surprises at the end of the month. And if you manage your Cost per Day, then there will be no surprises at the end of the year. This puts you in control of your finances and is a big stress killer.
If lack of structure stresses you out, before you retire, make a list of all the things you want to do, places you want to visit, things you want to learn. Check out hobby clubs you could join, and research websites like MeetUp ( http://www.meetup.com/ ) or higher learning sites like UDACITY ( https://www.udacity.com/ ) and Udemy ( https://www.udemy.com/ ).
Do this while you are still working so that on day one of retirement you are not facing a blank calendar and will have things to look forward to doing. Get involved in your retirement.
‘Retirees spend too much time by themselves.’ According to a study published in 2012 in the Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied, roughly one in 10 people aged 65 and older report that they are severely lonely. ( http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00223980.2011.609572#tabModule )
Some retirees don’t know what to do with all this newly found time on their hands. If you have a tendency toward being lonely, or miss your connections from your working life, we suggest finding an organization to volunteer at ( http://retireearlylifestyle.com/volunteer.htm ) where your expertise is appreciated.
Nothing enriches our lives like volunteering. Take a class from your local university, join a club, get involved in your church or synagogue or adopt a pet. Cook a meal for a widowed neighbor and take it over to him or her. Reach out to those less fortunate and make a friend. We are never too old to broaden our circle of people we know.
‘We’re in denial about our health problems and health care costs are huge.’ Retirement years span the days from when we leave the working world to when we leave this life altogether. Our health challenges cover everything from finding quality health care and a doctor we like to possibly needing assisted living or affordable convalescent care – not to mention reasonable costs of drugs.
It is our experience that there is affordable and accessible health care in foreign countries such as Mexico ( http://retireearlylifestyle.com/chapala_medical.htm ), Guatemala and Thailand, for instance. With the baby boomers retiring at 10,000 a day, foreign countries know that there is a business opportunity providing quality independent living, aging in place and 24-hour care for this generation ( http://www.careresortchiangmai.com/index.php?viewID=1 ) .There is no need to be limited to paying $7,000 per month for this care when, for example, you can receive worthy continuing care in Mexico ( http://retireearlylifestyle.com/continuing_care.htm ) for $2,000 a month. Since Medicare doesn’t cover long-term skilled nursing care, or nursing home care, having this option available to you is beneficial.
Prices for prescriptions are generally less than in the U.S. and $35 for an office visit to a doctor is also reachable.
‘Living in multi-generational homes is becoming more attractive.’ Having several generations live under the same roof is commonplace in many countries. It’s becoming more popular in the U.S. now too. The number of Americans in multi-generational households doubled between 1980 and 2012, reaching an all-time high of 57 million people, according to the Pew Research Center.
But for those who still prefer independent living with a little bit of help doing laundry, going shopping or cleaning the house, these services are very affordable and accessible in many foreign countries. With wages being lower in countries such as Ecuador, Mexico, the Philippines and Thailand, having someone do this day-to-day help is easy. Transportation costs are also cheaper, with mass transit costing under a dollar to get to most locations and taxis running less than $5 to get to the next town.
Getting to our days of retirement can seem to be a challenge, but once we arrive, all difficulties are not necessarily resolved. Having these listed suggestions can be helpful as alternatives and we hope you have found them to be useful.